When preparing to produce a custom spring or wire form, a great custom spring manufacturer will initiate a conversation with you to gain a thorough understanding of the component’s end use.
Even if you have provided comprehensive specs and part documentation in your quote request, this initial dialogue helps ensure that both parties—customer and manufacturer—are aligned before manufacturing begins.
At Gifford Spring Company, we also use these discussions as opportunities to offer Design for Manufacturability (DFM) advice that can yield time and cost savings.
What Your Custom Spring Manufacturer Needs to Know
No matter which spring manufacturer you work with, they should ask a series of questions in the beginning of your engagement.
Here are the questions we ask our customers about their custom springs and wire forms:
1. What is the application?
First, we need to know the overall application of the customer’s assembly. As a team of curious people, we always want to hear more about what our customers are building! But we are not just looking to satisfy our own curiosity. The answer to this question adds essential context that we take into consideration during our manufacturing process.
Sometimes we discover surprising information that we would not have known otherwise. For instance, we may learn that a component will need to function in a particular environment that impacts material selection.
2. What does the component do?
Once we have a clear understanding of the overall assembly, we will want to discuss the component’s function within the assembly. This information gives us a deeper understanding of the customer’s needs, allowing us to strategically review the part design and think critically about how to best manufacture it.
For example, if your component needs to hold a specific force or act as a frame in an assembly, those details are essential to successful spring and wire forming services.
3. Has the custom spring or wire form been made before?
Understanding the history of your component is another factor that helps us make the most informed manufacturing decisions.
If your custom spring or wire form has been manufactured before, we may ask follow-up questions like:
- How well did it work?
- Were there any deviations from the design?
- Do you have a sample component for us to reference?
4. Are there specific material requirements?
While it is technically possible to manufacture a spring or wire form out of nearly any material, selecting the wrong material can compromise a component’s functionality.
Not all materials can withstand the pressure and repetitive use that the component might be subjected to in its final environment. If you are unsure of the right material for your custom spring or wire form, we are happy to provide input and recommendations.
5. Are there specific tolerance requirements?
It is essential to determine the acceptable range for deviation regarding a component’s dimensions. If there are any critical tolerances, we will need to know what they are to ensure we meet all your specifications.
While springs have well-defined tolerancing criteria established by the Spring Manufacturers Institute, there are no official industry standards for tolerancing wire forms. No matter which type of component you need, we will work with you to achieve tight tolerances if necessary.
6. Does the component require any finishing operations?
It is helpful for us to know if a specific finishing process or secondary operation will be required for your spring or wire form.
The more information you can provide, the better. If you have specs that clearly define your component’s finishing requirements, we want to see them. And if you are not sure what you need, we are always happy to discuss surface finishing operations such as plating or electropolishing.
7. Will you require specific documentation or extra inspection policies?
Our goal is always to build a process that meets your requirements. Part of that process is understanding what your quality and inspection requirements are.
If you need a first article inspection or specific documentation such as material certifications, we will need that information as soon as possible so that we can take it into consideration.
8. Does the spring have load or rate requirements?
When manufacturing custom springs specifically, it is important to know if the spring has a certain load criteria. Does it require a certain force or torque at a certain length or angle of deflection?
Knowing this allows us to inspect this criteria during production. We will also review your spring’s design in case your dimensional specifications do not provide the desired load or rate.
9. What is the intended life cycle of the spring?
While information about a component’s life cycle is not necessary for wire forms, it is of critical importance for custom springs, which can become less functional over time. For example, will the spring be used only once, or will it need to last for thousands of cycles without wearing down?
This is especially important for any new spring design. If it is an existing spring and has been functioning in application without issue, there is rarely a need to make any design changes.
If you want to partner with a custom spring and wire form manufacturer who will go the extra mile to get you the component you need, request a quote from Gifford Spring today!